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Being able to count on your kids to lie down and take a nap is something every parent and caretaker needs and depends on. Days can feel crazy long otherwise and you find yourself falling apart when you don’t have a break. So, when napping stops, and you hear your child in their room playing, crying or swinging from the chandelier, it kind of feels like the worst thing ever.
What are you supposed to do? Should you leave them in there? Go get them? Stop putting them down all together?
When my oldest stopped napping around age 3, and my daughter followed suit when she was 2, I was exhausted and irritated. Like every other mom, I counted on that time to catch my breath and take a nap every once in a while myself. Parenting from the crack of dawn until bedtime makes for a cranky mom and I was no exception.
After a few weeks of continuing to put them down, I would hear them playing around upstairs and go get them after half an hour. I felt like I couldn’t put them in their room to nap anymore. I’m not sure if I thought it was cruel or what, but it never occurred to me to keep on with nap time.
After a day or so, my fuse was even shorter, and so was theirs. Even though they stopped sleeping every day, they still needed some downtime where they could lie down or sit in a quiet, dark space.
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